HIGHBURY College will be training the next generation of entrepreneurs and getting them ready for the world of business.
The college last night launched its Gazelle Local programme – its membership of a group of 20 further education colleges around the UK which want to change the way their students are taught.
Their idea is to join the college up with local businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as national experts, so their students are not just taught a subject, they are taught how to start a business in it.
It’s a similar scheme to an apprenticeship, but the students are given the responsibility of pitching for business, working within their budgets, and turning a profit.
National Gazelle network entrepreneurs Doug Richard, best known for his role with Dragons’ Den, and Michael Hayman, co-founder of StartUp Britain, launched the project along with the college’s principal Stella Mbubaegbu.
She said: ‘It’s a fantastic thing to do, and it’s been a long time coming.
‘We want to make a statement about how serious we are about giving our students a different experience and having them work with the entrepreneurial community.’
Students Poppy Sturgess, 18 and Jason Lodoïska, 23, were part of the launch, sharing their experiences of learning while running a business.
They urged local business leaders to come forward and give their time and expertise to help the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Poppy said: ‘It’s not a learning experience, it’s a doing experience.’
Mr Richard, the founder of School for Start-Ups, said colleges are key to nurturing future business leaders.
He said: ‘When I was looking around it became immediately apparent that the largest proportion of people in this country get their education from FE colleges, so we need to make our FE colleges great or we, as a country, won’t remain great.’
He said the key to success was not just learning the skills, it was coupling that with knowledge of business.
‘What a learning business teaches is how to be, say, a plumber but also how to be a business owner.’
Mr Hayman ended the launch by urging businesses to come forward to work with the new Gazelle College.
He said: ‘Highbury College is a friend to the city – and friends help each other.’